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Leading expert says concussion symptoms shown by athletes are ‘concerning’

Macquarie Sports Radio

Concussion expert and Associate Professor at La Trobe University Doctor Alan Pearce says the symptoms elite athletes who have suffered from concussion throughout their careers is concerning.

The news comes in the wake of former Wallaby Anthony Fainga’a announcing his retirement from rugby union after a constant battle trying to overcome mental health issues – stemming back from several concussions in his playing days.

Fainga’a said it was a struggle to do simple everyday tasks including walking, while he also admitted he required the assistance of friends and relatives.

Concussion from sport continues to rock several of the major sporting codes in recent years with the NRL and AFL having a number of players affected by the issue.

However, progress has been made to try and prevent concussion having a greater impact post-retirement for athletes with protocols now in place to serve that purpose.

Pearce said in a recent test conducted with 25 former rugby league players, 85% of the candidates had a slower motor movements performing simple tasks.

“It’s certainly very concerning,” Pearce said.

“But it’s not unusual with the research that I’ve been doing and I’ve had players come in with similar concerns and similar complaints.

“It’s something that I’m seeing quite regularly, not all players and ex-players are showing this.

“But certainly a number of players are describing symptoms that Anthony was talking about yesterday.”

Former NRL player and now ambassador for the Queensland Brain Institute Martin Lang has had his own battles with concussion throughout his football and post-football career.

Lang – a premiership player for the Panthers – suffered a whopping 10 concussions throughout his nine-year NRL playing career.

He says it’s important players consider their health and well-being.

“It wasn’t only a matter of going back onto the field, there was plenty of times when I didn’t come off,” Lang said.

“That wasn’t just me, that was anybody that played then before me and even since I’ve retired, these concussion laws have only been in for five, six or seven years.

“I do like the way they police it nowadays, but I do believe the game was negligent back in my day letting some of that foul play go on.

“They basically turned a blind eye, suspensions weren’t great enough and players basically got away with it.”


Click ‘play’ to hear the full interview below.

Macquarie Sports Radio